While individually any parliamentarians have the right to oppose Israel’s policies, banding with 1,079 others is unprecedented.
By: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
On June 23, 1080 hypocritical European parliamentarians from 25 European countries published a letter to European governments and leaders against Israeli annexation of the “West Bank.”
Former leader of the extreme left Israeli Meretz party, Zahava Galon tweeted on June 24 that she was proud that she had initiated this letter. She wrote that she did so jointly with three others: former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan, former Attorney General — under Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin — Michael Ben-Yair and former Knesset member and Jewish Agency Chair Avraham Burg. The latter in 2015 announced that he had joined Hadash – part of the Joint (Arab) List.
In their letter the parliamentarians expressed serious concerns about “President Trump’s plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the imminent prospect of Israeli annexation of West Bank territory.” The letter continued: “We are deeply worried about the precedent this would set for international relations at large.”
They added a major fallacy: “For decades Europe has been promoting a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the form of a two-state solution in line with international law and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”
There is nothing “just” in what Europe has been promoting. In 2006, the only Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections gave a majority to Hamas. This movement, according to its charter, aims to commit genocide of Jews. The second largest and only other relevant Palestinian party is Fatah which controls the Palestinian Authority. It rewards murderers – or their families – with pensions.
What the EU has been promoting – a two state solution in such a reality, can only qualify as a “just solution” in hell, or alternatively if one looks for a classic example: in Sodom and Gomorrah. The abuse of the word “just” recurs twice more in the letter.
Where the hypocrisy lies
The letter’s signatories claim that a two-state solution of which one future state is led by murder promoters, is “according to international law.” If so, that type of legislation may be at least partly a monstrosity. The UN is partly an antisemitic body. The majority of resolutions passed at its annual General Assembly are directed only against one country – Israel. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, such discrimination is an antisemitic act.
The signatories also claim in the letter that if Israel goes forward with annexation — their expression for what Israel calls ‘applying sovereignty’ – this move would be fatal to prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Of course, these hypocrites do not refer to the 2008 extremely generous peace proposal of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which was rejected by Mohammad Abbas.
The signatories repeat that Israeli annexation will challenge the most basic norms guiding international relations including the UN Charter. Iran’s policies regarding the destruction of Israel undoubtedly greatly challenge the UN Charter. There has never been a letter from these hypocrites dealing with this.
The letter continues that the signatories are “profoundly concerned about the impact of annexation on the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.” There is little proof that many of these people have ever shown concern about the lives of Israelis. Otherwise, they would have produced frequent letters about how deeply worried they are about Palestinian terrorism, murderous threats and other criminality.
The signatories are also “deeply concerned” about the impact of annexation on the destabilizing potential in a region on “our continent’s doorstep.” These parliamentarians did not send a similar letter regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement initiated by US President Barack Obama with Iran in 2015. This plan had huge destabilization potential on the region. That horrible potential has in the meantime become a reality..
The signatories quote EU higher representative Joseph Borrell who has stated that annexation could not pass unchallenged. They appreciate a man who does not consider genocidal intentions a problem. These hypocrites are supposed to know that the Borrell has stated to Politico that “Iran wants to wipe out Israel; nothing new about that. You have to live with it.”
The letter continues: “that the rules based global order is central to Europe’s own long term stability and security.” In fact, this supposedly rules-based order includes donation of monies the EU and European countries to the murder-awarding Palestinian Authority.
A first – and initiated by leftist Israelis
This letter is unprecedented. There are no situations where more than a thousand European parliamentarians got together to send a letter to European governments and leaders.
If one puts the letter next to the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, one finds that it may be antisemitic. If not it is certainly very close to it. The IHRA definition gives as an example of antisemitism “applying double standards against Israel by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
While individually these parliamentarians or other people abroad have the right to oppose Israel’s policy regarding the disputed territory on the West Bank, banding together with 1,079 others is unprecedented.
Muslim terrorism threatens Europe. Yet these hypocrites haven’t come together to condemn the inherent terrorism promotion in Palestinian society.
The letter is largely a left wing project. A rapid look at the signatories shows that at least 30% represent socialist or Labor parties. Well over 150 are from Green parties. Other more extreme left wing parties are also significantly represented, for instance, the Irish Sinn Féin, and the German De Linke. Fourteen signatories are communists. The party promoting the most extreme anti-Israeli hatred in Europe, the Spanish Podemos, has eight signatories.
The country with the largest number of signatories is the United Kingdom with 238. The majority are from Labour, 38 represent the Liberal Democrats, 27 the Scottish National Party, and 24 are Conservatives. This from a country whose government formally adopted the IHRA definition for national use. The number of signatories from Labour alone exceeds by far that of the 88 German signatories
With164 signatories, France makes up the second largest group. The third largest number of signatories, 130, comes from Ireland. Fifty-three are from the Fianna Fáil party. Its leader, Micheál Martin, is the country’s prime minister. Forty-eight signatories are from Sinn Féin. Fianna Fáil is the largest party in Ireland and Sinn Fein is second largest. Fine Gael the other main government partner has no signatories. Ireland’s population doesn’t even represent 1% of the population of the countries from which the signatories stem. It shows once again that Ireland is rightly known for its anti-Israel incitement.
There are other countries, which have a relatively large turnout of signatures per capita, such as Iceland with 8 signatories, Luxembourg with 11 signatories, Sweden and Denmark have about 50 signatories and so has Switzerland.
It is interesting to note that there are no signatories from a few EU member countries – Cyprus, Greece, Croatia and Bulgaria.
One of the most surprising names on the list is the former leader of the UK Conservative party, Lord Michael Howard, who is Jewish. He should have worried about a near-antisemitic letter, as he has been the victim of one of the most vile antisemitic caricatures in British postwar history. In April 2005, The Guardian published a cartoon by Steve Bell depicting Howard – not yet a Lord then –with vampire teeth, one of which was dripping blood, and holding a glass of blood. This was a personalized version of the ancient antisemitic blood libel. The caption read: “Are you drinking what we are drinking? Vote Conservative.” Later Bell again drew Howard with vampire teeth in The Guardian.
It would definitely be enlightening if a more detailed essay would focus on the background of some of the most problematic signatories of the letter.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is the emeritus Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has been a strategic advisor for more than thirty years to some of the Western world’s leading corporations. Among the honors he received was the 2019 International Lion of Juda Award of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research paying tribute to him as the recognized leading international authority on contemporary antisemitism. His main book on the subject is: The War of a Million Cuts The struggle against the delegitimization of Israel and the Jews and the growth of New antisemitism.